Saturday, July 16, 2016

Iskra Concert Review!!

At last, it's now time for our review of Thursday night's Iskra-headlined concert at The Oddfellows Hall, and apologies again for the delay, this concert weekend was beyond busy! Decent attendance on Thursday night, especially compared to recent all ages shows there, and by the time of Iskra's set, the crowd was very animated, especially when the mosh pits got going! Special kudos as well to AlgomA guitarist Boyd Rendell's mother, who doled out sloppy Joes & refreshments to attendees, which was well recieved!

Though the show was delayed a half hour, things began with a bang when local doom metal trio AlgomA returned to the local stage as the night's openers, a bit surprisingly so given their stature, but many faces were melted at the hall regardless! AlgomA's no-nonsense, sludgy originals continued at their crushing, glacier-speed rate, and while they didn't announce any song names (and only talked to the crowd once), their presence and intensity was at their live standard! Kevin Campbell and Boyd Rendell were once again a solid compliment on vocals, and the distorted, doomy guitar riffs fit the proceedings just fine, with Jamie Vincent right in his groove on drums throughout! AlgomA could engage the crowd a little more, but their down-trodden, dark, and doom-laden set definitely set the tone for the night, and stay tuned for more on their show in September on the site shortly!

Local goregrind duo Rotopsy hit the Oddfellows stage next for the first time in months, and if you haven't seen them at their recent house party gigs, fans will be happy to know that they were on form from their last Oddfellows sets! Playing a mixture of familiar originals like "Swamp Donkey" and "Non-Profit Vomit Shop" long with newer songs like "Stab Alley", Dylan Taylor and Tyler Gibson kept up their usual minimalist grind intensity for gathered fans, with Dylan continuing to diversify his vocals with more clean and spoken word sections, and Tyler laying down some solid bass throughout! At times though, Rotopsy lacked the bouncy enthusiasm that they often showed last year, and the last third of their set was cut due to time constraints, preventing fans from hearing the crowd favourite "Cops N' Moms". It's good to see Rotopsy back at it, and hopefully we hear more of the grind soon!

Victoria, British Columbia grindcore quintet Iskra hit the stage next as the night's featured band, playing for the first time in the Soo since 2004! With the exception of founding guitarist Nick "Wolf" Edwards, Iskra's entire lineup has changed multiple times over since their local gig 12 years ago, and with songs largely coming from newer releases, this was a whole new beast than their last time here, and they devastated the crowd with an intense set of original death metal! Rocking 8 songs (plus a deserving encore) including "Lawless", "Ruins", and "Kronstadt", Iskra devastated with technical and hard hitting instrumentation, with frontwoman Danielle a constant and ferocious presence up front, and both Wolf and Anatol Anton (who was celebrating his birthday) were a nice match with their brutal riffs and solos! Some intense moshing went down during Iskra's set, and overall, I'd say Iskra made plenty of new fans, hopefully ones who'll see them in town again much sooner than 12 years from now!

Reunited local death/thrash metal trio Pillory were the surprising headliners on Thursday, marking their first Oddfellows Hall appearance in over two years,  and the first time that I've seen them live in longer than that, believe it or not! If you've missed Pillory since their reunion, they're now a trio playing more technical death metal than their speed/thrash beginnings as a quartet, complete with shunning all old originals in their set, and this evolution seems to be working for them, with late fans giving a very positive reception! Robert Sartini's growling vocals have deepened and improved over time, Bret Shuttleworth continues to show his skill level among local metal drummers, and new bassist Jordan Leach (ex-Haggith) is a solid fit, and yes, that did appear to be a lit stick of incense on his bass head! New songs like "Exhaustive Incarnation" & "Abhorred Apprehension" show Pillory's newfound potential well, but their speakers seemed to give off a scratchy feedback, so I'd like to hear them again with that worked out. Overall though, Pillory are firmly back and in control!

Overall, this was a great show, especially for fans of death metal and grindcore, and you could definitely tell that fans enjoyed the action! You can check out our photos from Thursday night at this link or via our Facebook page, and here's our videos, including AlgomA playing their newer song "The Longest Swim", Rotopsy playing their newer track "Groove, Grind, and Gutrot", Iskra playing their song "Priviliged Morality", and Pillory playing their newer original "Wasting"!

And before we close this post, I just wanted to thank AlgomA and Six, Two, Oh. again for holding the door prize draw for the AlgomA/Chronobot vinyl split EP on Thursday (and to Danielle from Iskra for making the pick), as I somehow managed to win! Luck of the draw, but I didn't have it on vinyl previously, and I had an empty frame for a 12'' vinyl record already, so it works out fine! I did play the record on the turntable here, and it sounds great, and looks sharp too thanks to the blue vinyl! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and note soon! Thanks everyone!

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